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What is the reason to have non technical project managers or non technical scrum masters?

 
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Junilu Lacar wrote:Our manager didn't have to hover over our shoulders and tell us what to do every day



But in any case , was the manager supposed to do that ?

I thought the manager is supposed to check and make sure that the project is on track and if it is not so, then find the reasons and remove them to bring it on track. What is to be done everyday would already be part of the Sprint plan.

Sorry if this question is trivial, but as for some other roles ,I was trying to understand for the manager too that what is he supposed to do .

 
Satyaprakash Joshii
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Junilu Lacar wrote:

Satyaprakash Joshii wrote:While the work will be assigned by development team itself, but within development team a front end coding work cannot be given to a DBA.For this would the dev team not require to know that one of their team member's  title is DBA.?



In Scrum, there's only the Development Team, the Scrum Master, and Product Owner. Those are the only specific roles that Scrum has because those are the only roles it cares about with regard to how the framework works. .



It says the scrum treats the development team as a whole but how is it then that the team leader would still be judged on whether on not he did the leadership activities properly in addition to the tasks which were decided within the team based on common sense.
 
Satyaprakash Joshii
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Junilu Lacar wrote:
1. Don't have enough all-around experience to have a holistic view of your work .



I have been working over the years by just thinking of the task and never understanding what exactly is the responsibility of the people I interact with like the manager ,scrum master,product ownner.  If you have no idea what the other does (say product owner or scurm master or manager), then you feel oh these people I interact with must be doing  some rocket science .But if we have some idea of what whom does ,it does not look so and everything looks clear.

While I could have continued that way but I felt it is better to work with more clarity and a 360 degree picture .Now that I have some understanding of what the product owner or the scrum master or the manager does , I feel more clear in mind.


 
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Satyaprakash Joshii wrote:I thought the manager is supposed to check and make sure that the project is on track and if it is not so, then find the reasons and remove them to bring it on track. What is to be done everyday would already be part of the Sprint plan.


Ah, now we're getting to the root of things. The problem with this attitude is there's an undercurrent of mistrust. It's the kind of relationship where the manager is thinking "I have to be on these guys to make sure they do the job right" or "I have to make sure these guys don't screw up."

On the other hand, take our team and our relationship with our manager. She more or less had complete trust in us. That's because we showed that we were capable of getting the job done even without her constantly checking that we were on track. The attitude was more like "OK, guys, I'll let you do your work. Just let me know if there's anything I can help you with." And that's exactly what we did. Agile is about transparency. While many teams strive to paint a rosy picture to keep management at bay, Agile teams strive to make any problems they're having immediately and obviously visible, so that others who are capable of dealing with the problems they can't can help get them going again.

It's the difference between the Manager as the pilot of the plane you're in vs. the Manager as the air marshall, who will only step in when something really bad happens that the pilots or crew can't handle.

Here's another difference. We saw our job as being to make our Manager irrelevant. In that way, she could make herself relevant elsewhere. That means she could concentrate on getting promoted to bigger better things. So instead of just getting business for the our team to work on, she could go out and get business that our entire group could work on. So really, our job was to be so good at our jobs that our manager didn't need to babysit us all the time and because of this, we were helping her get promoted. We helped her get promoted by making her irrelevant at our level.

On the other hand, a team that needs a manager to make sure they don't screw anything up helps the manager get promoted by making them "the hero" who makes sure the job gets done. You can certainly choose to live your life this way but I think our way was a lot better.
 
Junilu Lacar
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Satyaprakash Joshii wrote:It says the scrum treats the development team as a whole but how is it then that the team leader would still be judged on whether on not he did the leadership activities properly in addition to the tasks which were decided within the team based on common sense.


Again, that's not Scrum. That's you and how your organization operates. Scrum doesn't care about any of that.

I'll give another analogy. Apart from marketing to specific demographics, a car manufacturer doesn't care if you're a mom, a dad, a grandfather, a dog, whatever in order to drive their cars. The manufacturers of the car assume that whoever is at the wheel falls within a certain range of physical characteristics such that they can adjust the driver's seat and the steering wheel position to some optimal configuration to make driving the car possible and comfortable. That's it. They don't care if you're rich, poor, married, divorced, single, educated, or whatever, or even that you're qualified to legally drive a car. So you asking a lot of these questions is like asking "Why doesn't Toyota specify whether or not I need to know Java if I'm to drive one of their cars?" The simple answer is "Because that's irrelevant to you driving the car." Likewise, all these roles are largely irrelevant to using the Scrum framework to be more agile.
 
Satyaprakash Joshii
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Junilu Lacar wrote:... We saw our job as being to make our Manager irrelevant. In that way, she could make herself relevant elsewhere. That means she could concentrate on getting promoted to bigger better things. So instead of just getting business for the our team to work on, she could go out and get business that our entire group could work on. So really, our job was to be so good at our jobs that our manager didn't need to babysit us all the time and because of this, we were helping her get promoted. We helped her get promoted by making her irrelevant at our level.

On the other hand, a team that needs a manager to make sure they don't screw anything up helps the manager get promoted by making them "the hero" who makes sure the job gets done. You can certainly choose to live your life this way but I think our way was a lot better.



Ofcourse ,this is the better way.

Moderator note: You've been on this site long enough to know better than to quote entire replies, especially when they're as long as mine tend to be. Please avoid doing that going forward
 
Satyaprakash Joshii
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Junilu Lacar wrote:

Satyaprakash Joshii wrote:It says the scrum treats the development team as a whole but how is it then that the team leader would still be judged on whether on not he did the leadership activities properly in addition to the tasks which were decided within the team based on common sense.




Again, that's not Scrum. That's you and how your organization operates. Scrum doesn't care about any of that.

.



Thank You .

Understood that all the scrum cares about is product owner,scrum master and Development team and not designations within development team.

While the scrum cares about development team as a whole , the organization would still be judging say software engineer and a team leader differently.But, I am thinking then from where would they get this feedback? From the scrum itself.

So how does both these things work out together.That is what I am thinking.

 
Satyaprakash Joshii
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Junilu Lacar wrote:

Leading is different from managing. Coaching and mentoring is different from managing. A senior technical person on a good agile team is a leader/coach/mentor, not a manager.



I think I have understood this.

If the work is to cut the jungle , the LEADER will be actually cutting the jungle with his team and guiding them while trying to follow the agreed instructions accurately.The MANAGER will observe whether the jungle is getting cut as per the schedule. If not ,the manager will find the deviations present in plan and remove the reasons .E.g the saw is not sharp, so provide sharp saw to the leader and his team.

 
Junilu Lacar
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Satyaprakash Joshii wrote:If not ,the manager will find the deviations present in plan and remove the reasons .E.g the saw is not sharp, so provide sharp saw to the leader and his team.


Unfortunately, many managers don't think of doing that and will just say "Saw harder then!" Agile teams don't wait for the manager to give them a sharper saw. They spend time every day sharpening their tools. No asking for permission, just do it and get on with the work. It's called "being a professional."
 
Satyaprakash Joshii
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Junilu Lacar wrote:No asking for permission, just do it and get on with the work. It's called "being a professional."



Permission for what kind of things ?
 
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Satyaprakash Joshii wrote:Permission for what kind of things ?


I was alluding to taking ownership of what it takes to get your work done. If you have to wait for your manager to give you a sharper saw, you're not taking ownership of your work. If my saw needs sharpened, I don't need to wait for the manager. I go ahead and sharpen it. No waiting, no asking for permission.

Let's put it in more concrete terms. Many teams give the excuse that they don't do TDD because their manager doesn't give them time to do it. TDD is your saw and not doing it means your saw is dull. Why wait for the manager to tell you that it's OK to learn TDD? We went ahead and did it. Granted, we informed our manager that's what we were doing and set the expectation that we might slow down a little bit as we learned new techniques and ways of working. This was different from asking permission though. But our manager was smart enough to know that the benefits were going to far outweigh the temporary hit in our throughput.  Many managers aren't that smart. They just want to keep telling their "troops" to "Keep sawing! Don't stop, just saw harder!" That's dumb.
 
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Junilu Lacar wrote:. . . Unfortunately, many managers don't think of doing that . . .

...forgetting that it is their job to make sure the saw is sharp.
 
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Campbell Ritchie wrote:

Junilu Lacar wrote:. . . Unfortunately, many managers don't think of doing that . . .

...forgetting that it is their job to make sure the saw is sharp.


It's the people who use the tools who have to make sure they're sharp. The job of the manager is really more about making sure that people have what they need to keep their tools in good working order. The site foreman isn't the one who's going to sharpen axe blades or saws for the carpenters. The site foreman makes sure the carpenters have grinding stones, and whetstones, and that there is a sufficient supply of replacement blades and handles. If the carpenters need training in the proper use of their implements, then the foreman needs to find them the right training that fits the budget available. If there's no budget, the foreman needs to go to the whoever controls finances and ask for the budget. The manager is just the enabler, not the doer.

In the analogy I gave, it's like the foreman tells the carpenters, "Why are you wasting time putzing around with your tools every morning? We've got sh*t to build so stop whatever you're doing with your tools every morning and just get busy building sh*t!"

 
Campbell Ritchie
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Whether it is the manager or the foreman, it is not the carpenter's responsibility to provide the equipment for sharpening saws. Yes, the manager or foreman can legitimately say, ȁI have got you saws, files, and oilstones, so you can keep them sharp.” What I mean is that it is not usually the carpenter's duty to proved the saw.

But a carpenter may have their own saw which they prefer to use. Or a programmer may bring their own laptop in. That is a personal preference, which works well, particularly if the carpenter's own saw is the sharpest.
 
Junilu Lacar
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Campbell Ritchie wrote:What I mean is that it is not usually the carpenter's duty to proved the saw.


This is where the analogy starts to break down because the programmer brings skills to the table. Managers need to order computers, approve the purchase of IDEs, get budgets for development environments, etc. We developers are responsible for making sure our skills are up-to-date. If we're not up to speed with techniques that make our jobs easier, we need to spend time learning them. If we need training or reference materials, we can often go out and find them. Or we can go to our managers and ask them to pay for what we need.

Getting back to the point I was making about ownership, developers need to be more proactive about keeping their skills sharp. They can't just wait for managers to figure out what they need. OP was saying "the manager... provide sharp saw to the leader and his team" and I'm saying provide the saw, sure, but keeping it sharp, why do you need a manager to do that? Those are your tools/skills, so it's your responsibility to keep them sharp.
 
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Junilu Lacar wrote:. . . the programmer brings skills to the table. . . . making sure our skills are up-to-date. . . . your responsibility to keep them sharp.

Yes, I will agree with that.
 
Satyaprakash Joshii
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Satyaprakash Joshii wrote:

If the work is to cut the jungle , the LEADER will be actually cutting the jungle with his team and guiding them while trying to follow the agreed instructions accurately.The MANAGER will observe whether the jungle is getting cut as per the schedule. If not ,the manager will find the deviations present in plan and remove the reasons .E.g the saw is not sharp, so provide sharp saw to the leader and his team.



Sorry. It seems to me that the example given by me was seriously wrong .

Why ? Because, Saw is not a correct example to use here as Saw for the development team would be skills which is their responsibility.
 
Satyaprakash Joshii
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Junilu Lacar wrote:
Managers need to order computers, approve the purchase of IDEs, get budgets for development environments, etc. We developers are responsible for making sure our skills are up-to-date. .



While I fully agree that it is the responsibility of development team to keep the saw sharpened, in the same analogy what will the manager do during the project of cutting  the trees?

 
Junilu Lacar
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Satyaprakash Joshii wrote:While I fully agree that it is the responsibility of development team to keep the saw sharpened, in the same analogy what will the manager do during the project of cutting  the trees?


I really don't know why it seems like a concept that's hard to understand. The "manager" trusts that the people cutting trees actually know how to cut down trees. The manager makes sure the trees are getting to whoever needs them. The manager is looking for other trees to cut down. The manager is managing the business, not the people. The people are taking care of business, if they are professionals. If not then the manager has to be a babysitter instead.
 
Satyaprakash Joshii
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Junilu Lacar wrote:
I really don't know why it seems like a concept that's hard to understand. The "manager" trusts that the people cutting trees actually know how to cut down trees. The manager makes sure the trees are getting to whoever needs them. The manager is looking for other trees to cut down. The manager is managing the business, not the people. The people are taking care of business, if they are professionals. If not then the manager has to be a babysitter instead.



Perfect explanation with the help of this analogy.

Sometimes, analogies help us visualise and thus understand better .

Thank You
 
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Junilu Lacar wrote:The people are taking care of business, if they are professionals. If not then the manager has to be a babysitter instead.



Best advice one can get in IT industry ever.
 
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